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28 March 2024

Farmers hit hard by drought; heavy rain elsewhere

  • Drought continues to hurt farmers in WA and Tasmania
  • Unseasonal rain hurts farmers in other parts of the nation
  • Opportunity still live to make deep pollution reductions this decade to protect farmers, food

Farmers in parts of the country are facing serious drought as a bushfire rages in WA and unseasonal rain falls in other parts of the country, Farmers for Climate Action CEO Natalie Collard said today.

“Although climate change is bringing more humid and tropical weather further south and inland along the eastern seaboard, large parts of Tasmania have not seen rain for two months while West Australian farmers continue to push through drought,” Ms Collard said.

“Scientists have long predicted consistency of rainfall would reduce, with more extreme rainfall events and more dry spells. This is happening in Tasmania with the Bureau of Meteorology declaring February rainfall in the state was 54% below average. Climate change is hurting farmers right now. We need deep pollution reduction this decade to protect our farmers and our food.”

Beef and wool farmer Marcus James, from Junction Farms in Tasmania, said some parts of the state hadn’t had rain for two months.

“It’s just so dry,” Mr James said.

“It might not come through in the figures because we had slightly more rain early on, and then next to nothing. When the rain comes is as important as the amount.”

“From a feed point of view here at our farm, we’re preparing for drought. Now it doesn’t look like we’ll get the Autumn break we need to grow the feed we desperately need. We get requests from people asking for hay all the time, but we just don’t have any to sell.”

Tasmanian beef producer Rob McCreath, who farms near Deloraine said the knock-on effects of the dry weather in Tasmania were enormous. “Everyone like us who had animals booked in for a long time for processing is getting pushed down the queue and having to hold on to animals for more than a month, because producers on King and Flinders Islands are running out of stock water and the abattoirs are rightly giving priority to those animals coming off the islands.

“We’re all feeding stock silage and hay to keep animals in good condition. It’s a big disruption to Tasmania’s livestock industry.”

In Mt Barker, WA, beef and sheep farmer Michelle Philipp said only 23 mm of rain had fallen on her farm this year.

“We’d normally have had close to 60mm by now,” Mrs Philipp said.

“Nothing grows, there’s no feed in the paddock and the water levels are dangerously low. We have water storage for another three months and feed for another five months. In three months, we have to take drastic action if it doesn’t rain. We’ve been here seven years and this is the second time it’s been this dry. This is not a typical weather pattern.”



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